From weighing 65kg to winning bikini competitions, Dr Jenny Li shares her daily tricks to keeping body fat away with a well-balanced diet.
As we are still in the beginning of 2017, I encourage you to try the following five steps for next 31 days.
1. Have a Plan
I am a big fan of allowing flexibility in your diet. Incorporating at least 80% of your meals from whole minimally processed foods allows a bit of variety in your day. If you plan ahead in a food journal for a majority of your meals, you can leave some room for change in plans or uncertainties.
By keeping things habitual and simple, you can stick to a basic routine for most of your meals. It’ll also give you structure that you can follow. If you find that there may be some trouble areas throughout your day, you may want to focus on those areas of concern first to get them out of way. For instance, if you notice that you’re not getting enough fat throughout the day, you may want to start your day with a meal that incorporates more fat.
2. Keep a Food Journal
If you nibble it, you scribble it. One of the best and most efficient ways to track your progress on your fitness journey is to write down the foods you eat. Keeping a food journal holds you accountable and keeps you on track for the long haul. Studies have demonstrated that long-term success in weight loss or gain can be attributed to accurately tracking down your food intake.
A food journal will help you memorise your food’s calories and macronutrients. Over the course of time, the repetition of entering these foods will help you become more familiar with portion sizes and calorie content. Here are a few examples of websites that you can use to track your progress, which also have apps available for those that have smart phones: www.myfitnesspal.com, cronometer.com, www.fitday.com
Along with having a food journal, another good investment would be a food scale. With this, you can accurately measure out the amount of food you’ll be eating for the day. The more precise you are with your measurements, the more success you’ll have as you integrate a different variety of foods.
3. Learn to Cook
One of the best ways to adopt a healthy lifestyle is to learn to cook. By cooking your own food, you’ll know the ingredients as well as the caloric and macro/micro nutrient breakdown (protein, carbs, and fat daily intake). Plus, you can incorporate a variety of healthier versions of your favorite foods. This is a great way to stay on track instead of settling for the same bland and boring foods.
For those of you who don’t know how to cook, the best way to start is to go to www.Allrecipes.com. This website allows you to look up the servings and the amount of calories each serving has. You can also watch some YouTube videos as they can provide some insight on recipes.
4. Finding a Balance
Just because something is good for you, doesn’t mean that more is always better. For instance, fibre is great for intestinal health. However, too much fibre can lead to bloating, discomfort, and even malabsorption as not all of the nutrients will be properly assimilated.
The same can be said for other macro and micronutrients. Too much or too little of any one nutrient could be detrimental to your health. Even being too strict or too flexible with your diet can lead to complications. Finding the right balance is key towards long-term success.
A symphony works because all of the instruments play at a tone, intensity, and tempo that compliment each other. The same can be said about foods that you incorporate. The nutrients that you ingest can help compliment each other as you progress.
5. Avoid Extremes
When it comes to dieting, anything that has you eliminate whole foods and food groups should be looked upon with great skepticism. Many foods can fit into a balanced diet. However, labeling foods as either “good” or “bad” instead of nutrient composition and taste can lead to disordered eating. These particular extremes can lead to unnecessary rituals and social isolation to due lack of control of diet.
Keep an eye on these behaviors. There comes a place and a time to be more diligent with your eating habits (end of bodybuilding competition preparation, before a weigh-in for a sporting event). But for the majority of the population, there is no need to overcomplicate things.